The next step in catching copper thieves is under consideration at the capitol.

It’s been five years since the legislature passed a law requiring recyclers and scrap metal dealers to keep records of who sells stuff to them.  The state senate soon could be working on increasing that record-keeping and putting that information into a database that police could access. The information would include photographs and certification by the seller that the material is not stolen.

Sponsor David Sater of Cassville says nothing is sacred to metal thieves. He recalls thieves stole about $10,000 worth of copper wire from a Christmas display in Monett.  He says a dozen churches in Greene and Lawrence Counties have lost their air conditioners.  And he says metal thieves hit eleven churches in Greene County, robbing them of $30,000 worth of metal in a five-month period in 2010.

Much of the bill is similar to an ordinance in Kansas City. But city councilman Scott Wagner says a statewide law is needed because Kansas City metal thieves can escape detection by selling their stolen items outside the city.

The bill has been reviewed by a Senate committee but has not been sent to the floor for debate.